If you buy something from the affiliate links, marked with an '*', I may earn a small commission. This does not bias product recommendations.
This post is predominantly parts of an email I sent in reply to someone who’d sent me a lovely email asking me about self tanning and what I’d recommend. I found myself writing a reply, quite passionately, about a range of products that I’ve used for years and stupidly never written about here on Manface. I’ve made the email anonymous and trimmed out any parts not relating to the products, I don’t want you to think that I’d just post a private email online!
From time to time, I do like to use a bit of fake tan, I always find it just picks me up a little bit and something so daft can give you a little bit of extra confidence!
My favourite tan of all time has to be Xen-Tan, particularly the mousse. I’d say they’re the best I’ve come across as it doesn’t particularly smell, although it does slightly but that’s the DHA ingredient in everything that causes the colour change, kind of smells like old biscuits if you know what I mean, but this seems to have the least amount of smell. Xen-Tan do however produce a moisturiser that you can apply over the top that suppresses this fragrance completely.
For face they then do an oil free Luxe face tanner, one of the only I’ve come across that is actually oil free, this is important personally as I do have an oily/combination skin type, but obviously it’s your preference and they do do oil based versions.
If you’re like me and massively fair skinned, I’m going to make a recommendation that you might find odd, but go for the medium to dark versions rather than the light to medium. Personally, I’ve found the light to mediums in many ranges, make my pale skin go an odd yellowish colour (obviously this is purely personal and no one else online has mentioned this after researching) so I took the risk a year back in going with the darker versions and afterwards and it looked so much better – just make sure you’re not too liberal with your application otherwise you can look a bit tantastic.
A few tips that I’ve amassed over the years may help:
1. Apply to ‘dirty’ skin – make sure you shower in the morning, using a really good body scrub (TBS Cocoa Scrub is awesome, do it on dry skin then rinse off) to remove dead skin and then do your tanning in the evening. DHA (the tanning agent) is affected by skin’s pH balance and when you’ve just use water and cleanser on the skin, it’s thrown out of whack and can cause the tan to streak and blotch as different areas gradually re-balance.
2. Apply on your back – Use 50cm of cling film, fold in half length ways, apply 3 blobs of tanning foam or lotion, then use it as you would if you were drying your back with a towel. This top tip came courtesy of Xen-Tan themselves who sent me this amazing bible on self tanning.
3. Always use a tanning mitt rather than hands as it will apply much more evenly and thoroughly wash your hands with very soapy COLD water, as hot water activates the DHA. Really scrub in between your fingers and nails. After drying your hands, gently rub the backs of them with the mitt but obviously being careful not to get it over your fingers again, but you don’t want white hands and brown arms, and being so white this shows up more.
I’m giving this product duo the Manface Recommended Award for outstanding effectiveness and promise of result that this company appears to give consistently in my experience. I have used Xen-Tan for years and I’m certain I will do for years to come.
Anyway I hope all this information helps, but it’s a lot of trial and error I’ve fought with because it’s easier to look wrong on lighter skin for obvious reasons.
Hope you enjoyed reading my emails and if you have any questions then please let me know and I always make sure I reply and be as in depth as I possibly can!
The Xentan products mentioned are available here
Subscribe to my free monthly newsletter and get my skincare and beauty insights straight to your inbox.